做空日本时机已到？ Hedge funds say this time shorting Japan will succeed
Why would a hedge fund manager be interested in adult diapers? They are a clue to what growing numbers of hedge funds are now seeing as the next big trade: the bursting of Japan’s bond bubble.
This year, sales of adult diapers in Japan eclipsed sales of infant ones for the first time; a neat statistic that captures the huge demographic challenge the country faces – one big factor of several that bears believe are behind a crisis set to break in the coming months.
“What did Bernie Madoff’s titanic Ponzi scheme teach the world?” asks Kyle Bass, a Dallas-based hedge fund manager who has garnered a wide following for his contrarian – sometimes borderline apocalyptic – views, in his letter to investors this month.
驻达拉斯的对冲基金经理凯尔•巴斯(Kyle Bass)上月在致投资者的信中问道：“伯尼•马多夫(Bernie Madoff)的巨大庞氏骗局让世人明白了什么？”巴斯因其逆向投资观点而吸引了大批追随者，尽管他的观点有时显得危言耸听。
“A key takeaway should have been that you can make outlandish promises for the future as long as you maintain one key ingredient: more victims entering the scheme than exiting.”
His point is simple: social security costs in Japan have been rising steadily. The retirement age is 65. And the peak years for Japan’s birth rate were the four from 1947.
Japan is finally facing its reckoning, Mr Bass says, driven by insuperable demographic forces and triggered by a worsening current account – which has for the first time slipped into deficit – after years of widening debt to gross domestic product and falling government revenues.
And yet, we have been here before. Betting against Japan has been a persistent hedge fund favourite.
David Einhorn, founder of Greenlight Capital, for example, has been short Japan one way or another since 2009, and shorting the yen has been a failed trade for many of the world’s most seasoned macro hedge funds four years running.